Friday 20 January 2012

China: Beijing

Reached our last destination for the trip, Beijing (北京).

We had lunch at a Korean BBQ place! Haha so ironic because we didn't eat roasted Peking Duck this time but... WHY DIDN'T WE?? HMM. Oh well, at least the Korean BBQ was great.

Afterwards, we went to 天安门 (Tian An Men), 故宫 (Gu Gong), 景山公园 (Jing Shan Park) and白塔 (White Tower). It was a really really REALLY cold day, I wore two jackets and looked like a dumpling!

Day two started with a bit of shopping before heading off to SKI!!!!! The ski resort was 1.5 hours drive away and when we finally reached, I was SO EXCITED. The weather was great for skiing because the sun was shining brightly so it wasn't cold at all! In fact, after I put on the ski costume, I started sweating a bit! It was really difficult to ski on flat ground; I had a hard time trying to move around. But once we climbed on the hill, skiing down was fantastic baby!!!! I didn't even fall! We started with the beginner's hill, and moved onto beginner intermediate, intermediate, intermediate advanced. I wanted to go onto the advanced route, but I backed out in the end because the hill was reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyy steep and all the people who went on it were professionals. So I stuck to the intermediate advanced route. Skiing is so exhilarating, I would definitely want to do it again!!!

That night, we ventured off to 前海/后海 which is a place very much like Clark Quay with a lot of bars/pubs featuring live bands/singers along a river. It would have been much nicer if they had not blast the music so loudly.. It was a nice stroll after a heavy dinner.

Woke up to S N O W. My wish came true!!! It really snowed in Beijing! Like a happy kid, I put on my jacket and ran out into the snow, happily admiring it. Ahhhhh~ But sadly it didn't snow very much, neither did it last long, just an hour or so. But still, it snowed!! :D

After breakfast, we went to a shopping center and I bought souvenirs. We were supposed to go skating in the afternoon but I think the exhaustion from the previous days piled up and I took a longgg afternoon nap, so didn't go skating in the end. But we went for a short road trip to see 鸟巢 (Bird's Nest) and 水族馆, basically the places where the Olympics 2008 took place in.

To make up for the missed skating trip, we went to the rink the next morning. I actually wanted to try skating at the outdoor frozen ponds but my mom was worried the pond might break and I would fall in and freeze.. so we decided to go to an indoor skating rink. The ice was not as smooth as the one in Singapore, but MUCH better than the one I went on in Tian Jin a few years ago, it was like skating on rocks.

Had dinner at 麻辣诱惑 (which is supposedly some pretty popular place to dine) before going to the airport and it was bye bye China! I think China has become much more modern now and I'm really happy that I got to explore other cities in China besides Beijing. :)

Thursday 12 January 2012

China: Xu Zhou

We reached Xuzhou 徐州 quite late at night so decided to have dinner and go to bed. The hotel was not as great as the one in Shanghai but it was pretty good! Look at the cute slippers they provided!! Hehe.

Had a pretty early breakfast at this place that serves 'sha' soup. It originated from pheasant soup, invented by the ancestor of cooks in China named Pengzu. Originally made with pheasant chicken and corn, now its material has become a mixture of eel, wheat kernels, kelp, gluten, and pepper. It is mainly sold on mashi street during breakfast and dinner time.

We went to a tomb of a Han king, I was fascinated! There were many rooms made for the dead king, kitchen, bathrooms, storerooms of jewels and gold... There was also a concubine and a middle aged man buried alive with the king. And of course, there were the terra-cotta warriors! These warriors and horses were a lot smaller than the one you usually see on TV, those big ones are located in Xi'an I think.

Xuzhou museum was more interesting than the Shanghai one; maybe because we had a guide along with us so instead of just randomly browsing, we got to know more about the exhibits. I think the history of China is incredible, simply because it has SUCH a long history.


Lunch was at this beautiful restaurant located at the edge of the lake so we were in a sort of pavilion and could view the lake through the windows. FINE DINING AT ITS BEST!! :3

Saturday 7 January 2012

China: Shanghai

Left Hangzhou and took a train to 上海 (Shanghai)! First stop was 朱家角古镇 (Zhu Jia Jiao old town). I LOVE the old architecture, SO BEAUTIFUL! It's a wonderful break from the high rise buildings in Singapore, even when they are trying their best to look different and outstanding, they still look..roughly..the..same...

So we took a row boat to explore the place, so relaxing and tranquil with shop houses lining the river. It's a great way to tour this place if you're not planning to walk around too much.

Lunch at a restaurant next to the river. :)

Next up was 豫园 (Yu Yuan). Tons of shops with random stuff for tourists, plenty of food stalls too. The architecture was nice too, I think this place used to be the garden of the emperor?

Shanghai dimsum for dinner! YUM. By now I don't think I need to emphasize on the crazy amount of food that we ordered for FOUR people.

After we were filled to the brim, we went to 外滩 (The Bund). Gorgeous night view met our eyes. On our side of the river were the old colonial buildings which I absolutely adore, I think I might just faint in Europe. On the other side, you have your high rise buildings including the Shanghai World Financial Center and Oriental Pearl Tower. Nice, cooling (ok, more like really cold but I have no complains) and leisurely walk.

The next day, we went to 上海环球金融中心 (shanghai world financial center) which was on the other side of The Bund. It is one of the tallest buildings in the world, with 101 floors. The floor had glass tiles but it wasn't what I expected. I thought the floor would be totally made of glass or something haha but sadly, there were just a few glass tiles in the middle... Not that exciting and it was rather misty that day so the view of the surrounding wasn't very good.

Then we headed to Shanghai Expo to see what was left of it. I wanted to sign up to help out with Singapore's expo exhibition a year ago but for some reason I didn't. Anyway, only the Saudi Arabia exhibition was left so we went in and experienced this amaaaazing 4D effect! You stand on a travelator which brings you through a huge curved screen and when the screen shows a moving desert landscape, you feel as if you're moving through the desert. I was so fascinated, didn't want to leave the place.

Lunch at this place that serves food from the highlands and oh look, even more food!

After lunch, we went to take the Maglev, world's fastest train! It reaches 431km per hour, for about 5 minutes and then starts to slow down HAHA. The track wasn't long enough I guess. When the track turns, you can feel the train tilt, very fun! It's like momentum you learn in Physics applied in real life *wiggles eyebrows* 8D

We also visited the Shangai museum but it wasn't as interesting as I thought so left after a while. The shape of the building was cool though, like a 鼎 (Ding).

Did some shopping at 南京步行街 (Nan Jing shopping district) but didn't spend much time here because had to leave for the train station soon. So we had lunch at 老上海, faaaantastic food!

P.S. I absolutely LOVED our hotel in Shanghai. *___*